Monday, March 31, 2014

Pizza Vesuvio

This family run restaurant was discovered by my brother who works nearby Pizza Vesuvio. Beautifully decked out with mismatched chairs, blackboard menus and an open kitchen you really do feel like you in a family home.

The pizza's are quite pricey, the same level as Colcacchio's at over R100 there are however other items on the menu and really great lunch specials of pasta and beer combo's.

So at a place called Pizza Vesuvio I had to try the pizza, bear in mind my brother and I don't eat much cheese, these pizza's still look amazing and all were of very high quality, good ingredients and speedy service.

This one is a classic Italian choice, we added fresh avocado with olives and anchovies, one of my favorites it really cures any salt craving which I need after all this triathlon training.

This restaurant has really managed to to make a version of pizza base closest to the pizza I ate in Italy, light thin base, few toppings but still gooey and addictive texture. Above is buffalo mozzarella with parma ham and rocket.

Pictured above is parma ham, avocado and rocket, making my mouth water just writing this post, I must make my next booking at this restaurant soon, go at lunch time and relax to the Italian music playing in the background, smell of pizza in the air and friendly family style service.

Pizza Vesuvio
Waterfront road , Tygerwaterfront

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Monday, March 10, 2014

Italian Meatballs and Polenta

Meatballs was a peasant dish created using all the offcuts of meat the Italians could find, normally pork and beef, adding bread to make it go further and rolling it into its classic meatball shape, when they immigrated to America, meatballs went with and this is where the Americans added spaghetti, which the Italians then adopted too, eaten like this all over the world now.
I made it with polenta today also a corn meal based peasant dish which is now seen in all restaurants enhanced with tons of butter and Parmesan, I make mine very plain and light, only adding a little olive oil and seasoning.

Italian food always seems to bring back memories and makes me thoughtful of events passed, this particular occasion I used my basil out the garden and remembered Sergio Pavan's beautiful garden of fresh vegetables and herbs, freshly picked for lunch on a daily basis.

These recipes are dairy free and wheat free, paleo friendly without the polenta, it is enhanced with tons of grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Italian Meatballs 
Makes 20

500g pork mince (or use beef)
1/4 onion grated
1/2 carrot grated
1 garlic clove grated
1tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
5ml lemon juice
5ml Worcestershire
15ml tomato sauce
optional: add 1 egg and 30ml breadcrumbs

Mix together, fry a small piece off and check the seasoning then roll into balls.
I fry the balls off on the outside for colour in the pan I am going to use for the sauce as it gives flavour.
Just fry the outside of the balls then remove and set aside, start the sauce below in this pan.

Napolitana Sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk peeled and chopped
20ml sunflower oil
1 by 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes, chop the tomatoes by hand
1/2 carrot grated (I added 2 grated baby marrow too)
1tbsp tomato paste
10ml Worcestershire sauce
5ml lemon juice
5ml balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar optional

Fry the onion, garlic and celery until softened in the oil, add the tinned tomatoes, chopped, grated vegetables,  tomato paste and simmer for 40 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients to taste, then add the meatballs and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Thicken with cornflour if necessary and adjust seasoning.

You pretty much need to follow the packet instructions as there are different kinds, the one I have is grainy so it needs to cook for at least 30 - 40 minutes and I keep adding water so its hard to say how much, here is a rough guide to follow.

Bring 700ml water to the boil with 5ml salt
turn the temperature down low otherwise you will have a polenta volcano.
add about 200ml of polenta while whisking.
Place the lid on and in 5 minutes stir it and see if you need more water, it need to be a thick paste consistency but able to bubble lightly.
Allow to cook on low, stir every 5 minutes and add water as you see fit.
When it is cooked add salt,  if you like butter and Parmesan but I just left it plain with a dash of olive oil. I greased a Pyrex dish with olive oil, pour the polenta in and allow to set.
Cut into squares, you can now steam it, fry it, bake it and serve it with anything really. Sometimes I cut it into blocks and treat it like gnocchi, topped with sauce.

Recipe and pictures copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quick Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

Growing up this was one of my favorite dishes, so favorite that for almost all my birthdays I got Beef and Yorkshire Pudding as well as when going away for a while, the return treat was always "yorkies" My mother would also never veer from tradition, I would beg her to make them with chicken or even pork but she refused so I will keep up the tradition, however not having the time to roast a whole cut of beef I just did rump steaks and one vegetable where at mothers there would be about six vegetables.

These are tricky things to make, never working when you need them too but the recipe is easy as pie to follow as long as the temperatures and amounts are correct,  just cross your fingers and hope. Made from a batter they are often eaten before the roast with the gravy forcing the cook to prepare a separate white sauce for the meat. They are best using the drippings of fat from the roast and a hot oven with hot oil / fat. I added a secret ingredient today which you will see in the recipe below.

This recipe is dairy free but contains wheat and meat.

Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
serves 2

2 Beef steaks, can be your favorite, fillet, rump, sirloin, hangar
10ml olive oil
5ml mustard
salt and pepper
sprig of thyme

Marinade the beef in the oil, mustard, herbs and seasoning.
Fry in a hot pan until cooked to your liking. Remove the meat and add a little water to the pan to make a gravy, brandy or red wine can also be used, reduce it to remove the alcohol taste and whisk in a knob of butter.

1 Head broccoli
toasted flaked almonds
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon

Blanch the broccoli florets for 3 minutes in boiling water, remove from the water and toss with olive oil, almonds, seasoning and lemon.

Yorkshire pudding
serves 2 (makes 6)
1/2 cup of eggs
1/2 cup of cake flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup beer
Olive oil blend, 3ml in each muffin hole

Mix the flour and eggs until smooth, add the liquids and a pinch of salt.
Heat the oven to 200°C  then place the muffin tray in the oven with the oil in each hole to heat up, this must get really hot.
Take a ladle and spoon the batter onto the oil, bake for 20 minutes or until golden, puffed and ideally should have a hole in the centre for the gravy.

Recipe and pictures copyright by Tamsyn Wells